Quick Indiana Jones Question

I was reading a post on Greg Rucka’s blog yesterday…

And you kind of have to scroll down quite a ways to find this part…

Wherein he mentions that in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, as far as the battle over Marion goes, Belloq is clearly the better man.

Now, it seems to me that this is a very large point. Definitely there are real ways in which Belloq is the better man, which are painfully apparent to the Raiders enthusiast. Well, but aren’t these very ways part of the reason we prefer Indy to Belloq? Indy certainly has flaws that Belloq doesn’t, but are those same flaws not in the end elevated, by being the very things that block him from allying himself with the Nazis?

However — and here’s my question — what are these flaws, precisely, and how does Indy come by them?

Even fifty years ago, this would’ve been the easiest question in the world to answer: Indy’s flaws are merely the reverse of Belloq’s. Belloq is successful, and Indy is not; Belloq can afford the sin of Pride, and Indy can’t. Literally can’t afford it: because he hasn’t got what it takes to pay for it. So he must settle for a sin far less satisfying, instead.

Greed.

Yes, and don’t we all know that Han fired first on Greed? That egalitarian character, with so much dignity in potential, always in potential…but perhaps only because Greed doesn’t serve him very well, either. He never gets much good out of it; he’s not very good at it. He can’t move on from it — can’t even start with it. And in the end it isn’t really even a sin: because Greed, in the end, is not what he has. What he has is Lack. Always Lack.

Belloq doesn’t have Lack (and neither does Jabba — yes, I’m saying Harrison Ford was playing the same character both times). Read the right way: Belloq is the better man. No Lack. Better man. Ipso facto.

Some few of you may recall my old community-college essay on “The Man Who Forgot He Was A Man” (link on the Not Comics page, if you’re interested in reviewing the poor overburdened thing) — that distinctly American adventure-film trope involving incompleteness and Lack as semi-Lawrentian virtue. The holes left by missing bits of Self signalling honesty, toughness, and worth…and the filled-in Self of the mature individual seen as inadequate in comparison, effete, artificial…the property only of a) decadent villains, or b) laughable non-entities. So this is what the explanation of Indy’s virtue would’ve been, as little as fifty years ago: next to Belloq, Indy is rude, flawed, inarticulate, uncultured, American, a little stupid (as in “too dumb to quit when he’s beat”) and therefore good…Belloq is aristocratic Eurotrash whose success at everything makes him persuasive and enviable, and therefore bad. Belloq hobnobs with the powerful; Indy’s friends are poor little children without shoes. Laconic American saint vs. loquacious European princeling. Simple stuff. Very non-churchgoing Protestant.

Of course, Raiders was made a lot more recently than fifty years ago…

So it’s only an updating of that stuff, see? And not the stuff itself. These quasi-Lawrentian traditions of American film went down below the surface of things by the Fifties…I’d suggest they’d been gone out of American novels quite some little time before that…and maybe they even vanished entirely from movies that were at all well-made. Raiders came out about two decades later, after American film’s more artsy, introspective period, in which Steven Spielberg grew up holding rangefinders to his eye. So in Raiders, Indy doesn’t triumph over Belloq because well-dressed, well-mannered Europeans are all effete hypocrites…does he?

Or doesn’t he?

Forgive me, these aren’t very well thought-out noodlings, here. I’m kind of babbling, airily wondering, waiting for someone smarter to interrupt me…and by the time we get to the third installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, I think much is made plain that in the first movie largely functioned as subtext, so in a way what I’m asking is kind of a moot point. Wow, am I saying there was a lot of subtext in Raiders? These really aren’t well thought-out ideas, are they? Still, all things Raiders interest me, and Steven Spielberg was hardly born in the Thirties…in the Raiders novelization (a friend’s girlfriend once noticed this on my bookshelf and said with a laugh “Jesus, you have this too…” “Naturally I have it,” I said, drawing myself up all haughty-like. “Shit, what is it with boys,” she wondered aloud. “I’m sure I have no idea what you can be referring to,” I replied, flicking a speck of lint from the irreproachable Mechlin lace at my cuffs…welcome, Bully!) where was I, oh yes in the Raiders novelization, much is made of Marion finding Belloq absolutely magnetic — if Indy doesn’t show up soon, she’s not going to be able to resist him for long in that tent, you know? This (ahem) sequence is not mirrored in the film, of course, but Mr. Rucka’s musings on Raiders recalled it to my mind nevertheless…

So what am I asking?

Lowbrow and reactionary as it may be, Raiders is an exceptionally well-choreographed piece of cinema. It’s almost scary how the beats come just when they oughtta, and how everything looks just like it has to at every moment. I’d see it again right this minute, if it were on. I never tire of looking at it. Never. For what it is (for just what it is, and I wouldn’t have it any other way), it’s bloody perfect.

So, lowbrow or not, is there anything in it to be called accident?

I would be very surprised if there was.

What are Indy’s faults, and how does he come by them? What makes Belloq the better man/not the better man? As I said, I’m just horsing around, here. But I would be interested to hear any brilliant thoughts that might occur to anybody. My own brilliant thoughts I can get cheap as borscht (egg beaten into it and all), but I don’t read too much about Raiders online, and I’d like to.

David Golding once said, when I brought up Doctor Who: “ah, now this is my fandom.” I can’t quite claim this same thing in total honesty about Raiders; I love Seventies Marvel comics far too much for that. But is there anyone of my approximate vintage who doesn’t put that first Indiana Jones right up there with Spider-Man as an identity-shaper? David agrees, I’m sure.

Well anyway — this was fun.

Advertisements

19 responses to “Quick Indiana Jones Question

  1. flicking an infinitesimal speck of lint from the immaculate lace at my cuffs

    Not the immaculate lace. The irreproachable Mechlin lace.

    The way you’re contrasting Indy and Belloq is also applicable to Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman in Die Hard. Actually it’s something I’m kind of getting sick of; can’t the good guy be sophisticated and polite every now and then, and the villain brutish?

  2. Beyond the surface knowledge of watching (and enjoying) the films, my understanding of Belloq is that he is successful because of his status, and his status is tied to his success (and most likely it doesn’t hurt to have a family lineage of successful aristocrats).

    But INDY has the quality of honesty (well… there’s SOME roguishness to him, but that’s part of the charm).

    You can bet that while Belloq would have no compunctions against selling something “under the table” to a high bidder (private collector or Nazi madman), Indy is just trying to do what is RIGHT.

    Doing what’s RIGHT and being poor as a result is a MUCH better trait than being rich BY the nature OF doing whatever it takes.

    Being rich is fine.
    But not at the cost of your integrity or “soul” (whether literally or figuratively).

    That’s why, as a comic book fan, Peter Parker was (before he made a pact with the devil, of course) such a “role-model” to emulate.
    Does the right thing no matter the personal cost.

    Would Belloq dive into a pit of snakes to save someone?
    I would hazard a guess that he would not.
    He might feel remorse about them being thrown INTO the snake pit, but he wouldn’t lift a finger to help.
    (IF he were to have been thrown in there as well, I still posit that he would save himself first. Unless it wasn’t life-threatening to aid the other person in the pit with him.)

    So, in MY book; Indy is a much better MAN than Belloq.
    Not as successful, no. But a far better MAN.

    Just my life-view.
    Others may vary.

    ~P~
    P-TOR

  3. Oo! Oo! Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kot-heirrrr!

    First off: Yes, and don’t we all know that Han fired first on Greed? Heh. Nice word play there; love it! :)

    Belloq clearly is the better man. He’s more adept at persuasion, he’s polished, he’s smart… The upshot is that he’s good at getting other people to do his work for him, but still allow him to get the credit for it. That’s really what the whole opening scene is about, right? “There is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.”

    Belloq is also quite successful professionally. He has, if his claims are to be believed, direct access to Hitler’s ear. Indy, on the other hand, is a “lowly” professor at an obscure university. There might be some local prestige there (including the romantic dreams of co-eds) but that’s about it. Recall that the government agents initially come to see Brody, and they only meet Indy because Brody knows his expertise in the area. Contrast, too, the small, disheveled look of Indy’s residence compared to the fairly comfortable surroundings even in Belloq’s tent — Belloq carries luxuries with him Indy can’t even afford to place in his permanent residence.

    Everything about Belloq shows him to be the better man. Except, of course, he isn’t. For the simplistic (but not simple) reasoning that he’s a Nazi.

    The contrast between Indy and Belloq, as you note, is not unlike the contrast between North America and Europe. Belloq has all the “right” things to rank highly among society. Indy is decidedly rougher around the edges, and takes a much more practical, hands-on approach to life. The easiest and quickest way to get something done the way I want it to get done is just to do it mydamnself. That’s “American spirit” in a nutshell. Which is, of course, a hallmark of the adventure/action hero in American pop culture: John Henry, John Carter, Popeye, Captain America, Spider-Man, Indiana Jones, John McClane, Lara Croft…

    And that American spirit is both Indy’s greatest strength and his biggest flaw. He’s coarse and arrogant and independent and stubborn and brash and impulsive, but the man gets the job done. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t slick, but it works. It’s not unlike how the U.S. is seen by the rest of the world — we’ve got a lot of respect because we crawled up from almost nothing to become the world’s largest (and then only) superpower in less than 200 years, but at the same time we did it in a decidedly crude and relatively tactless manner. “King George is a dick! Let’s throw his tea into the damn harbor!” “Hey, you injuns are in the way! Shove off!”

    Having said all that, though, I’m now wondering why/how Indy is a better man than George W. Bush. :?

  4. My own brilliant thought of clarifying insight is: Indy is the better man because he’s not a Goddam Razi.

    Joking aside, I’d say that what both men share is indeed greed, or at least an obsessive need to possess something. Well actually, it isn’t really even a need to possess something, as both men willingly turn over the objects they aquire to a third party, whether the Germans or a Museum (where it belongs).

    What both of them are actually doing is running down the road after the car so that they can widdle on it. Metaphorically, that is, the alternative being a very different kind of film.

    The fact that Indiana Jones always ends up doing the “right” thing doesn’t take away from the central fact that he’s a graverobber obsessed with pursuit and acquisition. The genius of the character is that we cheer him on regardless. And if we assume that in the film’s world Belloq is also magnetic and charismatic, then exactly the same thing can be attributed to him. So both men are actually incredibly similar, the only difference being one of them works for the Third Reich.

    Actually, maybe I was being serious in my first sentence.

  5. Indy’s primary flaw is idealism. The primary conflict between Belloq and Jones is defined by pragmatism.

    Both want to find the great treasures of old. Belloq will do whatever it takes, ally with whomever will help him towards this ultimate goal. Jones will not. While he is greedy and seeks the treasures to aggrandize himself, he also seeks them for the benefit of knowledge at large, and he will not betray his ideals to obtain them.

    This contrast plays out in the men’s lives. Belloq, the pragmatist and “realist,” lives well, because he doesn’t care what it takes to live that way. He’s suave and a “man of the world” in a way that Indy isn’t. Jones lives as an academic, not a man of means, and gets bumped and bruised in his quest because he won’t bend to the prevailing winds. (Beating a metaphor to death: the sure sign I’ve had too much coffee.)

    The ability to be pragmatic and adjust to reality is admirable, to a point. As is idealism, to a point. What makes Belloq the villain is that his pragmatism led him to work with the devil. He bent so far that he lost his humanity. Indy’s idealism is a great virtue in the face of enormous evil, when bending to the wind means surrendering one’s humanity.

    It’s an interesting inversion of Victorian virtues that idealism is shown as the virtue of the striving lower-class man, and that the aristocrat is the pragmatic, soulless villain who’d drive a knife into your chest to get what he wants. Gotta love that twentieth-century “yay proles” style. In a mass medium, it pays to flatter the masses.

    As far as Rucka’s comment, it’s worth considering. Jones seduced and abandoned Marion when she was young; Belloq’s one moment of decency came when he kinda-sorta defended Marion from the Nazis. However, one also comes away with the impression that should the situation grow difficult, Belloq would sacrifice Marion in the name of expediency. Jones never would.

  6. Re-reading the post, I had a thought:

    “Indy doesn’t triumph over Belloq because well-dressed, well-mannered Europeans are all effete hypocrites…does he?”

    No, he triumphs because he is his own man. Belloq, for all his using of the Germans, is being used in return. Despite his “hard-headed realism” and focus on self-interest, Belloq is, in the end, nothing more than a tool of larger, evil forces. Indy is an independent actor, and thus a freer, better man, capable of resisting the lures of power and money extended by the eeeevil Nazis and mattering more than being a means to an end.

    There’s also an important split to be made in your dichotomy above. It’s not that the values of maturity are disparaged in American adventure films (and their spiritual kin). Wise old-tymey folks can be found in ’em. Settled, mature, far-seeing folks who don’t see things the way our aw-shucks hero does, but aren’t effete jerks either. Think “Uncle Jesse” in “The Dukes of Hazzard.” They’re almost always old as dirt, but they’re around. (Maturity comes not with adulthood in this worldview, y’see, but with retirement age.)

    It’s a class issue, yo. You list Indy’s virtues as “rude, flawed, inarticulate, uncultured…a little stupid.” So flip ’em and see what’s detested. What are the eeevils? “Mannered, perfect, articulate, cultured, a little smart.” What does that spell? Good education. Wealth. Or at least the advantages wealth brings. (Paris Hilton and various celebutards notwithstanding.)

    But the burning American worship of The Almighty Dollar makes straight-up class resentment nigh impossible. It’s difficult to even think about, given the “yay wealth” nature of American culture. How to resolve the cognitive dissonance?

    By hating “those wussy furriners!” In modern America that translates to the French, who our popular culture caricatures as stereotypical upper-class types. “Why, those well-spoken, cultured bastards! How dare they…um…make me feel stupid and unworthy! Damn the French!”

    At least, that’s my theory.

  7. I’m coming back to this shortly, just wanted to quickly say: Matthew, I’m changing that to the Mechlin thing, thanks for the catch! And Madelay — well, Nazism did make rather a cult of the “better man”, didn’t it? I certainly took that first sentence of yours at face value…

    Okay, it’s snowing like crazy here all of a sudden. Coffee.

  8. I’ll offer this, in response to Harvey’s identification of idealism as Indy’s edge over Belloq — which, remember, I’ve also called a flaw.

    So the big question is, how does Indy come by it? Given that this is a genre period piece made by Steven Spielberg, and therefore Indy doesn’t really partake (at least, so I seem to be claiming) of the Lawrentian (or even, really, Chandlerian) American “masculinism” that opposes itself to the effete and sheltered Easterner/European pencil-moustache decadence thing. At least, he doesn’t partake of it directly: underneath the bow ties and the bullwhips, Indy’s proper milieu is really a disguised version of the late Seventies his creators have come to adulthood in.

    So, idealism: but what kind of idealism? Perhaps the idealism of deliberate immaturity? Spielberg didn’t need to make Hook to reveal his fascination with Peter Pan, I think: as we’ll eventually see in the third installment of Raiders, Indy is the very image of a boy who never grew up, only an image filtered through the earlier American pop-cultural products he references. (And just by the way, Han Solo’s not the adult to Luke Skywalker’s teenager, he’s the older teenager to Luke’s child.) Indy’s immature, and he knows it — his past relationship with Marion, his discomfiture with his adoring female students, his mild-mannered everyday appearance, his failure to outwit or overmaster Belloq, and his chasing of a “secret” self-aggrandizement all show it. Superhero stuff, obviously, as well as George Lucas’ beloved Joseph Campbell, but also it’s slightly more than that…Indy and Belloq are both graverobbers, but Indy’s a humble graverobber, at least partly animated by a buried, childlike religious (almost superstitious) faith. He heeds warnings that Belloq never would; in Raiders he knows to avert his eyes from the Ark, in Last Crusade he negotiates the challenges through his understanding of what it means to experience religious feeling — “the penitent man is humble before God”, and so forth. Also it’s no accident that the object of desire in Crusade is (ostensibly, at any rate) the source of eternal youth, eternal deferment of maturation — which is really not what the Grail legend is all about, if you think about it. Of course what Indy gets from the Grail isn’t eternal life at all, and in this sense he does get the “real” Grail, rather than the false…the adventure of identity, which begins in intuition and ends in free choice.

    It’s an interesting cocktail. The immature man who knows he’s immature — the sinner, who knows he’s a sinner? In any case the romantic adventure of Indy and Marion is a teenage adventure postponed — they really are not yet grown up. As Belloq is, of course. But then that childishness is strength, in Spielberg’s filmic landscape of heroic Peter Pans: man is not the measure, because the state of manhood is that “treasure difficult to achieve” that all graverobbers are ultimately searching for.

    Oh crap, Adam Star, I hope you’re reading this…

    So maybe I’m not saying anything all that original, but I do find it interesting that Belloq is really the only thing like a vigourous adult actor in Raiders — and thus a coward, because he’s grown-up enough to be pragmatic? Is this pragmatism as hubris? The world of childlike affections and beliefs is perhaps defended, here, against the depredations of what it means to be serious and grown up. Not unusual for Steven.

    I’ll stop there, for now; must eat oatmeal. The snow’s still coming down, blowing all my plans for the day. More later.

  9. I was going to say something that’s almost the opposite of some of that. One thing Indy has that Belloq doesn’t is this:

    He’s afraid of snakes.

    I’ll let you think about that for a second.

    The way I figure it, Indy’s fear of snakes is something that grounds him, gives him perspective. If he’s brave in other areas it’s not because he’s too dumb or too unimaginative to be afraid; he just knows what he can handle and what he can’t.

    Belloq, though, has no corresponding fear. (Although Indy’s dad does!) Belloq is devil-may-care. And so he acts with more of a disregard for consequence and does stupid stuff like unleashing the wrath of God on himself, or allying with the Nazis, or whatever.

    I was going to say that I thought Indy was too a grownup, but now I think I can’t defend that as strongly as I’d like. If he is, though, the point at which he reached maturity was that escapade from the beginning of the third movie where he a) first won and lost the Cross of Coronado and b) acquired his herpetophobia.

    If Indy’s an idealist, I suggest that he gets it from his father. Their relationship as shown in the third movie is generationally just about perfect: Missionary (Prophet) father, Lost (Nomad) son. But I don’t think he is an idealist; I think he’s a survivor with a code of behaviour. Like Marlowe or Spade or the other great Lost Generation heroes.

  10. Can’t find that Rucka post…

    I love the Indiana trilogy, and own the box set, but haven’t internalised it too much (it was always Star Wars for me). But my wife has, I’ll have to ask her what she thinks…

    I would like to say that Indy isn’t unsophisticated. He’s a university professor—probably part of the classics department! He’s probably read Dewey and James in his own time, and his philosophic ideals are those of American pragmatism. He’s not lower class, he’s the middle class heir of high culture. Belloq is the kind of guy who was probably made to read Machiavelli and Nietzsche at private school—and who obviously completely misunderstood them.

    As for the better man… well Belloq is the kind of guy who thinks recognition of fine qualities is the same as being loved for them, while Indy knows his and Marion’s relationship runs deeper than their intentions. Harvey says “one also comes away with the impression that should the situation grow difficult, Belloq would sacrifice Marion in the name of expediency”. Impression? He does sacrifice her. Twice! We shouldn’t be pretending (I assume) that we’re only up to the tent scene. Indiana is the better man because he didn’t get himself killed; by the end of the movie, Belloq isn’t a man at all, he’s goo.

  11. I think I agree with David Golding above: while not really commented on very much in any of the films, he is Dr Jones, and we know he must have had an extensive classical education if not through his father (hasn’t he learned Greek from him? I don’t really recall) then as part of his degree/doctorate. His and Belloq’s education are unlikely to be very different, and if so doesn’t that make Indy the charlatan?

    In other words, if Indy comes across as rude, flawed and uncultured, then that’s a facade he’s constructed for himself. I didn’t watch much of the Young Indiana Jones stuff, but doesn’t that suggest that he had a very priviliged upbringing? Of course, if the TV series is cannon then it makes Dr Jones unbelievably emotionally stunted (or just galactically dense) if he can go through everything from tomb raiding in Egypt as a child through to the First World War and the Russian Revolution, and yet still not have grown up or matured at all.

    On a seperate point, I think there’s one main character that’s missing from the discussion so far: Marcus Brody. To quote Harvey Jerkwater “What are the eeevils? “Mannered, perfect, articulate, cultured, a little smart.”” I’d say that also sums up Marcus.

    So, is Marcus also evil? Actually, he may be. There’s certainly something almost sinister about him. Had Raiders been structured like a film noir/pulp detective yarn, then Marcus would very likely turn out to be the mastermind behind the caper, betraying the hero at the end of the second act. He’s so similar in mannerism to Belloq that I can almost believe that in an earlier (hypothetical) draft they were the same person.

    Of course in Last Crusade it turns out he’s an amiable bumbling curator and largely comic relief, but I can’t help but think that may not have been what was originally intended.

  12. I’ll also chime in on Indy’s academic cred, of course, because it’s part of how the old American Lawrentian stuff doesn’t fit around him so well — he’s neither the classical awakener of “manly” virtue nor the classically awakened: he already busts heads, forgets to shave, lives in the sometimes-seamy world of adventure and self-expression. He may be a little stunted (and I stress may, not wishing to say I know best), but he’s certainly not repressed. No more than Peter Pan is repressed, though he’s certainly stunted. Also, whether or not the Young Indy series is canon, his upbringing as per Crusade must’ve pretty rarified: son of the world’s foremost authority on the Holy Grail, my God do you have any idea how broad a field that is? Not to mention protege of the world’s foremost authority on the Ark of the Covenant. And Eagle Scout to boot, jeez. Sure, so he moved around a lot. That doesn’t exactly make him Tom Joad, or even John-Boy Walton. Sophisticated, for sure. Then again, I suppose one could make an argument that’s all only on the surface: Indy’s “secret identity” is that of a mercenary and ruffian, isn’t it? Then again, again, maybe it’s the bullwhip side of him that’s the more superficial one…

    In light of all that, Marcus is perhaps a more interesting figure than he appears. In Raiders he seems not to be a buffoon at all, but a secret sharer, a bridge between the two Indy identities in much the same way as (one assumes) Prof. Ravenwood was. As Marion is; as Henry Sr. will be. But in Raiders at least, Marcus is particularly effective in this role: not displaced father-figure, but avuncular enabler…one senses hidden depths in Denholm Elliot’s nod, smile, words to the wise, financial support and standing with the university’s Board. Then in Crusade that all gets flushed down the toilet, oh well. But in Raiders, Marcus looks like he knows what he’s doing, and Jones Sr. is not even mentioned, and I’m sure we’re supposed to think of him as someone who might’ve been a pretty tough egg, in his day. That’s a noir-ish type, too, isn’t it? Limo driver to the Shadow.

    Glad you guys brought that up.

    As far as being a survivor with a code, rather than an idealist…I think I disagree. Definitely that’s what he’s meant to recall, but like I said, Indy’s really a Seventies creation: he may riff on Marlowe, but he’s not the real McCoy. Oh, I guess I could write a few hundred words on that difference pretty easily, but I’m gonna have to put it off — suffice it to say that Marlowe isn’t afraid of snakes either. If you take my meaning.

    I like those points a lot, though, I must say.

  13. Found the link!

    And, ha ha…I’d forgotten it was just something he’d tossed off in a sentence between great honking paragraphs about his gaming habits…

    He wrote that Wonder Woman, didn’t he? I was interested in that one.

  14. I eventually managed to find Rucka’s comment too… Not much to it! I’ve never read any Rucka, though I’ve heard good things about him. Any recommendations?

    Penny says that Belloq may be able to offer fine wine and nice dresses, but that’s not what Marion wants, is it? He’s not responding to her personhood. (Though perhaps this is not relevant to the soul, whatever Rucka means by that.)

    Regardless of “canon”, Indy didn’t go through everything that happened to him in every story—because they are all in somewhat parallel worlds, making use of the standalone form. Forget Indy’s maturation—his disbelief in various bits of supernatural business doesn’t make sense in the context of earlier adventures. This is a deliberate move on Spielberg’s part, as shown by the dating of Temple of Doom, and Indy’s Ark comment in Last Crusade, I think. Every adventure is his first, every adventure is the ultimate. Now I think of it: this is Campbell too.

  15. I really liked Young Indy, and thought it was a damn good idea…but you’re right, it’s just Young Indy.

    Maybe I could twist Pen’s comment to my own purposes? What interest can someone still enmeshed in the fascinations of First Love possibly have in fine wines and fancy dresses? Immaturity scores for a goal for Virtue once again…and is it not a Seventies kind of commentary, to exalt this simplistic/faux-reactionary Love-Idealism above all other values?

    Hmm, no, probably not; I probably go too far, there. Pen’s right, Belloq doesn’t know how to speak to Marion’s soul — and what does she want, anyway? Vitalization, one presumes: in this inside-out homage to Casablanca, she’s the anti-Ingrid Bergman, and whatever else she does she isn’t getting on that plane. Belloq offers her safety and idol-head trophy-girlfriend status, pragmatic values that can be cynically calculated, and thinks that given enough time she must come around — but she won’t.

  16. Oh, and I haven’t read (or don’t recall reading) anything else by Rucka outside that Wonder Woman — which I quite liked, because it did that rare thing for comic books these days: it held my attention. he threw in a lot of Olympian politics, which…well, Ed says his novels are all zip-zip-zip B-grade thrillers, and more and more I’ve been thinking “hey, that’s a craft too, to get people to turn the pages”. In other words, I don’t mean to malign him (or judge his writing talent/intelligence by his for-pay output) in the slightest, but I do think that zip-zip-zip background served him pretty well on Wonder Woman. Olympian intrigues, with Diana caught in the middle? I wouldn’t call it American Gods, exactly, but as an updating of WW it caught my interest, and I would’ve happily read more of it.

  17. I wouldn’t say that this american/euro divide is not based on completeness so much as to say that the facination with the Male construct as being incomplete and solitary is an American theme and euro otherness highlights it. Let’s not forget the main point here is the Marion desire (and ours?) is to complete the hero and the story. So the question that so much of American film asks about its heroes is if they are the ‘marrying kind’ thus capable of filling in the Wild with domestication and completeness. Matthew E points this up in Die Hard and Howard Hawks trod this ground pretty well in his films too. The Indy films are as tied into westerns as they are they are Star Wars and that other Space Cowboy Han Solo so you aren’t far off track here in picking up why the incomplete Male is suited to the conditions that they operate in. I would also add that Indy has a different kind of greed than Beloq as it is an immaterial greed for knowing that both share which Marion doesn’t seem to give a damn about in either of them.

  18. Hey, just popped in to re-read these comments, because I was wittering on about Raiders elsewhere on the web — great stuff! I think Matthew’s remark about Indy being afraid of snakes is the wittiest, but man! Some good thinking by you folks here, much MUCH more fun than seeing Temple Of Doom again on TV…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s